One of the true greats! Cleveland 'Cleve' Eaton
What can I say about this wonderful bassist except to say that I consider "Cleve" to be one of the greatest Jazz bassist ever.
His wonderful timing and swinging driving bass and improvisation are just mind blowing. Jazz bass at it's absolute best!
To illustrate his superb talent take a look at "Cleve" with Count Basie at Carnegie Hall March 20 1981 playing Bootie"s Blues featuring the great Booty Wood,and also the Kansas City Five clip working with Count Basie Zoot Sims and Roy Eldridge.
I would give my right arm to have the chance to play Jazz with this wonderful bassist and it must have been the ultimate honour for him to be asked to join the Count Basie Orchestra.
Cleveland Eaton was born August 31 1939 in Fairfield Alabama.He played many giggs with the Ramsey Lewis Trio and later with the Count Basie Orchestra.His entertaining style has earned him great respect in the jazz community.
Cleveland Eaton was raised with an intensive comprehensive musical background.He was playing his mother's piano at the age of 5. He then turned to Saxaphone by the time he was 8. Eaton took up the trumpet two years later and when he reached the age of 15,music teacher John Springer introduced him to the Tuba and string bass.
Cleveland played in a jazz group in college at Tennessee A&I State University(now Tennessee State University)where he earnrd his Batchelor's degree in music in 1960.
He then moved to Chicago and toured with the Ike Cole Trio. He later performed memorable concert tours with bands led by Larry Novac,Ramsey Lewis and the legendary Count Basie.
Over the years Cleveland Eaton became a consumate bassist, producer, composer, publisher, arranger and head of his own Birmingham based record company.
As a recording artist Cleveland's version of Bama Boogie Woogie became a phenominal best seller in the United Kingdom,Germany,Switzerland,France,and Australia.
Eaton's numerous honours include his induction into the Alabama Jazz Hall Of Fame, The Playboy Jazz Poll, Canada's Cultural Enhancement Award and the achievement award at the Count Basie Tribute concert.
He was nominated to the Alabama Music Hall Of Fame in 1993 and has a bronze star in the Walk Of Fame.
He received the Govenor's Arts Award in 1995(Alabama) and the Don Redman Lifettime Achievement award in 2004.
Eaton has played on notable recording sessions with nearly all genres,jazz with John Klemmer and Bunky Green, R&B with the Dells and Bobby Rush, pop with Minnie Riperton, Jerry Butler and Rotary Connection, big band with George Benson, Henry Mancini, Frank Sinatra, Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughan, Billy Eckstein and Ella Fitzgerald.
Eaton was dubbed "The Count's Bassist" during his 6 year stint and over 10 recordings with the Count Basie Orchestra.
Cleveland returned after 17 years on the road to Birmingham Alabama where he now teaches music and Jazz at the UAB's music department.
Still going strong, but Cleveland Eaton will go down in jazz bass history and indeed, jazz history as one of the greatest jazz musician's ever!